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$15.36 $9.99 list($21.95)
1. National Geographic Field Guide
$14.95 $13.95
2. Bird Song Ear Training Guide:
$81.60 $80.40 list($120.00)
3. The Reef Set: Reef Fish, Reef
$24.39 $20.00 list($36.95)
4. Neil Sperry's Complete Guide to
$13.57 $4.59 list($19.95)
5. National Audubon Society Field
$27.17 $23.89 list($39.95)
6. Reef Fish Identification: Florida,
$19.80 $14.95 list($30.00)
7. The Safari Companion: A Guide
$10.46 $8.95 list($13.95)
8. Last Chance to See
$29.71 $23.94 list($34.95)
9. Corals: A Quick Reference Guide
$10.50 $7.95 list($14.00)
10. Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness
$80.00
11. Conservation Directory 2005: The
$75.00 $74.42
12. The Amphibians and Reptiles of
$13.57 $12.11 list($19.95)
13. National Audubon Society Field
$12.92 $12.39 list($19.00)
14. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants
$27.16 $24.51 list($39.94)
15. Reef Creature Identification:
$13.57 $12.36 list($19.95)
16. The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants
$11.95 $8.00
17. Guide to the John Muir Trail
$17.16 $16.00 list($26.00)
18. A Field Guide to Bacteria
$10.85 $6.55 list($15.95)
19. Sibley's Birding Basics
$10.85 $9.94 list($15.95)
20. The Sea Around Us

1. National Geographic Field Guide To The Birds Of North America, 4th Edition
by National Geographic Society
list price: $21.95
our price: $15.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0792268776
Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
Publisher: National Geographic
Sales Rank: 1580
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now in its fourth edition, the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America is the ultimate birder’s field guide. Sturdy, portable, and easy-to-use, it features the most complete information available on every bird species known to North America. This revised edition features 250 completely updated range maps, new plumage and species classification information, specially commissioned full-color illustrations, and a superb new index that allows birders in the field to quickly identify a species.

The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Fourth Edition will continue to be a bestseller among the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. travel market—the nearly 25 million people who travel each year specifically to observe wild birds.

... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Birding Book
I have many different bird field guides, but always take this one along on my trips. I have read reviews by others that state this book is too big to carry in the field. Nonsense. I like having a bird book with all the North American birds between the covers. You never know when you may see a stray bird hundreds of miles away from its usual locations. The illustrations are very detailed. The raptors in flight section is another bonus of this book. Don't get me wrong, Sibley's books are magnificent, but this one is good as well. The only drawback is the sparrow section. While they are good, they don't do the birds justice. However, no book is perfect. My birding friends and I all agree that this is probably the best field guide at the moment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Field Guide
This is a very good field guide. Breif description accompanies every illustration. One thing though - it doens't break it down according to states. Other than that, you will be able to spot birds in your local area with this wonderful guide.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great
Just like many other reviewers, this is one of my many field guides to birds, but this one is not my favorite.

Plusses:
It's got all the latest revisions (e.g. Wilson's Snipe and Black-crested Titmouse) which the other books do not yet have.

It's got more birds, so if you're going somewhere where you might see Steller's Sea-Eagle or an Eurasian Kestrel, you'll need this book.

I personally think the maps in this addition are pretty accurate.

Minuses:

Other field guides have illustrations all by the same person. This guide has a bunch of artists. Therefore, I like how some of the birds are shown, but not others. You can't develop a feel of the artist's style and figure out how the typical bird is shown.

Some people may like how the birds are painted in natural habitats, but for me, I'm trying to get a good look at the bird, I don't care if it's up in some flowery tree, I want to see the bird. In other guides you can easily compare birds because they have the same posture, but often similar birds in this book are pictured doing different things.

It's too big to carry around easily. So if you want to carry one around, take Peterson, but if you're going to carry one that's too big for your pocket, you might as well take Sibley, it has more illustrations.

So, if you're into birding, you might as well pick this up, for the extra birds it offers if nothing else. But if you're not looking to collect a bunch of guides I find Peterson easier to use if you are beginning and Sibley better for more advanced birders.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE ONE To Get If You Get Only One ... Superb!!!!
I have been birding for 23 years. My life list is a respectable 450 species in North America. While some reviewers may not carry this book around, I will guarantee you the National Geographic Society (NGS) Field Guide to the Birds of North America is the #1 choice among every birder I know.

On my shelf I have a dozen guides...in fact probably every one published. Some are better for some things (such as Sibley), but overall this one is HANDS DOWN my favorite.

What makes it so good? With due respect to Roger Tory Peterson, the illustrations and written clues in the NGS guide are unmatched.

Secondly, in the 4th edition, National Geographic has demonstrated a fervent desire to keep up with the ever-changing naming conventions from the American Ornithological Union. Other guides simply do not keep pace.

If you are new to this hobby, this is THE guide. If someone told you they are interested, but they don't know where to start, this is THE guide to get them.

The one to get if you only get one. The one to use if you have many.

4-0 out of 5 stars Still the best all-around guide
I've been birding for about 6 years now, and this is the book I always have with me on birding expeditions, since its second edition - it's small enough to portable (though not small enough for a pocket,) and the illustrations are excellent in quality. The comparison pages showing several similar-looking species (comparing different species of ducks, hawks, gulls, warblers et cetera) are excellent. The descriptions are generally very good, and contain useful distinguishing information including vocalizations and distinctive movement patterns. The range maps are easily read, and at the front of the book, there are pages explaining how to identify birds, plumage, anatomy, and sundry other topics of use.

Generally, I prefer drawings/paintings to actual photographs when using birding books - I've found that often times, the photographs in birding books are less than good examples of several species, especially when there are one or more variations. Also, with illustrations, the artist controls the lighting, the angle, et cetera. Since this book uses illustrations, so perhaps I'm biased toward it in that way. ...P> The NGS book here is more than sufficient for most birders, I would imagine. Another plus is that it's all the birds of the continent, period; no need to buy an Eastern/Western edition when you travel to other areas of the country.

In this newest edition, they have included notations for whether or not the bird is endangered or threatened, as well as a handy one-page "quick-find index" at the back for finding a general group of birds quickly (for example, finches, jays and hawks,)so one doesn't have to spend precious moments looking through the longer, full index for them.

The book is durable, and withstands dampness and even light rain very well. The colors of the birds are very realistic, and they do a wonderful job portraying the different seasonal plumages. It appears that the colors have been modified very slightly from the last edition to look even better than they did.

An excellent book, all around. Naturally, selection of a birding guide is a very personal thing, and while I love this book, others may intensely hate it, preferring photographic guides. My best advice would be to get your hands on as many guides as possible, and see which suits your preferences for size, images, descriptions, and general feel, including portability, ... ... Read more


2. Bird Song Ear Training Guide: Who Cooks for Poor Sam Peabody? Learn to Recognize the Songs of Birds from the Midwest and Northeast States
by John Feith
list price: $14.95
our price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0975443402
Catlog: Book (2002-11)
Publisher: Caculo
Sales Rank: 36805
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This Audio CD is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to recognize bird songs. It features the sounds of 189 different bird species found in the Midwest and Northeast States.

Each bird song recording is followed by a short description of the sound along with a common mnemonic used to remember it. Many well-known song mnemonics such as "Who cooks for you?" for the Barred Owl and "Poor Sam Peabody" for the White-throated Sparrow are included. Following the song and mnemonic, the source of the sound is revealed. By naming the bird at the end of each track, the listener is allowed to wonder and guess at the nature of the sound. Active listening, similar to what one experiences in the field while searching for an unknown bird song, is a key to engaging the memory process.

One way to use this CD is to enable the "Random Play" or "Shuffle" option on a home CD player, portable stereo, or personal computer. Although it may be frustrating at first, repetition of this "quiz" game will quickly improve recognition skills. Gaining familiarity with these songs will greatly increase any bird watcher's enjoyment and awareness of birds in their natural habitat.

Features:

- 189 bird species found in the Midwest and Northeast states
- Digital bird song recordings made in Wisconsin
- Brief narration after each song includes descriptive, memorable and often funny mnemonics
- Can be used as a field guide to learn and identify songs or as a recognition quiz game
- Easy to use alphabetical track listing of all birds and their mnemonics
- It is a great gift for any birdwatcher, beginner or advanced.
- Total running time: 60 minutes ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wish it were more comprehensive
Very good job. Love the mnemonics. I wish it had near the calls that the Stokes and Peterson CD's did. Also, letting us hear the call first, before telling the bird name is great.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent learning disk for new birders
Our family has owned a patch of shore/forest land in Wisconsin for 20 years although none have been birders. With this disk we easily learned to identify species and discovered the diversity that we never noticed previously. The call/naming/call format of this disk is excellent for new birders and the numbers of species covered is ideal. I use the Stokes disk set as a reference but the name/call format and large number species covered does not facilitate learning the calls.

5-0 out of 5 stars A unique and impressive CD audiobook
John Feith's Bird Song Ear Training Guide is a unique and impressive CD audiobook providing instructions on how to recognize songs of birds common to the states of the Midwest and Northeast (including Wisconsin where almost all the bird songs were recorded and the post-production work was done). Each distinctive bird song is followed by a mnemonic or a short description. The bird is identified and a review sound is played again that fixes the song's identity in the mind of the listener. The Bird Song Ear Training Guide is enhanced with a quiz format which will aid the listener to focus on learning how to identify the bird songs. A complete list of bird species and mnemonics is included in an insert. All profits from this enthusiastically recommended CD instructional for birdwatchers will go to the Nature Conservancy and the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it for your cats!
Actually you'll find it useful and accurate too. Fun to use, lots of songs, and my two feline birders went bananas. Who would know better? Good value for the money and the proceeds go to a good cause.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbiased Review by the Author
One might call this CD a companion "ear training guide" to the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs. Or maybe a condensed Birding by Ear. It falls between the two in terms of number of birds (189) and amount of narration (about 5 seconds following each bird song). It has the lovely voice of a female narrator (unusual for a bird tape) and the birds have a tinge of a Wisconsin accent.

For some, the main draw of this CD is that one is allowed to guess before being told the name of the bird singing. Others might like the number of memorable mnemonics and brief song descriptions used. For those in the Midwest, the main draw might be that all the birds were recorded in Wisconsin (although most of the birds can be heard over much of the Eastern United States). And finally, the fact that one can review or "take a quiz" on the songs of 189 birds in only 60 minutes is a big advantage over the multi-CD guides.

This is, of course, only the opinion of the unbiased author. ... Read more


3. The Reef Set: Reef Fish, Reef Creature and Reef Coral (3 Volumes)
by Paul Humann, Ned Deloach
list price: $120.00
our price: $81.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1878348337
Catlog: Book (2002-02)
Publisher: New World Publications
Sales Rank: 12914
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Reef Fish3rd Edition,Reef Creature 2nd Edition and Reef Coral 2nd Edition Identification books packaged in a beautifully printed Shelf Case. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says on the tin!
I'm sorry that Vincent in Singapore didn't find these books useful, but they don't pretend to be books for those wanting to keep fish in small tanks - they are terrific field identification guides (as per the titles), with excellent photos and details of colour variations, locations, etc. Beautifully presented, and very comprehensive. Brilliant!

2-0 out of 5 stars NOT FOR MARINE AQUARIUM HOBBYIST
As a marine aquarium hobbyist I was disappointed with this set of books. It doesn't tell you much on the behaviour and characteristic of the fishes, invertebrates and corals. The most disappointed and surprised was the book on reef fish, such a thick book but only a few species were introduce.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best set available
If there is one set of reef identification books to own then this one is it. A set of three of the best books available, it contains Reef Fish Identification, Reef Creature Identification and Reef Coral Identification. Throughout the Florida, Caribbean and Bahamas areas there are no better books available. Each fish, creature, coral, grass or algae has it's own full color picture along with a line drawing that points out the defining characteristics of that particular species. With a plastic cover and the pages treated to resist water, it can be taken to the beach or onto the boat without much concern about the water damaging the book.

Each entry has complete information on the fish, creature or coral from size, depth, range and habitat to the level of concern that a diver should have for their safety around it. If you snorkel, dive or just have an interest in identification of the various things that you find on a reef then this set will give you everything you need to identify anything you find. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Reef Set
We have used the Reef Identification series for years and this new update is a great addition -- many more fish are identified. The writeups about each fish are very detailed and explain behaviours and various color shadings well. The photos are excellent, and we have always been impressed by the amount of work and care that have gone into the series. This is the first time we have had the Reef Coral book and are as pleased with it as with the quality of the other two books.

5-0 out of 5 stars You must have this book!
If you need information on Carribean Reef Creatures/Fish/Coral, this is the only book you need.
As an underwater photographer, I am constantly using my set to identify fish and corals. There is no other set of books like this. Now, Paul, when are you doing a Pacific Set???? ... Read more


4. Neil Sperry's Complete Guide to Texas Gardening
by Neil Sperry
list price: $36.95
our price: $24.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0878337997
Catlog: Book (1991-02-01)
Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
Sales Rank: 30818
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Reference for Texas Plants
I use this book as a reference to look up plants I see in magazines or the nursery to see if they will grow well in Texas. A lot of the information is more suitable to the Dallas area than the Houston area, but it sure beats most of the gardening books out there for advice for Texas gardeners.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, lacking basic plant information
Although there is a lot of helpful information in this book, there are some major drawbacks. First, not every plant described is accompanied by a photo. Also, some basic information is missing for many plants (like mature height, type of light/soil required, when the bloom period is..). The book also feels somewhat dated both in the plants covered (and some of the more newly popular natives that are not covered) and the presentation. There also really isn't a whole lot of insight offered by this author. Some of my favorite gardening books are Native Texas Plants, Texas Bug Book, and the locally available "Garden Guide for austin and vicinity" and the excellent and free pamphlet "Native and Adapted Landscape Plants" available at local nurseries and the extension office.

1-0 out of 5 stars Consistently Wrong page after page
For years, Mr. Sperry's advice has been taken as the absolute truth by his radio listeners. Folks, there are much better sources for gardening information out there. Chemical toxins and synthetics are not the answer for everything going on in your yard. In fact, they are much more the problem than the solution. MSMA is a particular Sperry favorite, fine if you accept the "Arsenic" as a good weed-killer. He also recommends spraying weeds with 2, 4-D. This will kill your trees! A commonsense, natural approach is now becoming the "norm" these days. Author Howard Garrett is a much better choice for your gardening library.

4-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, beautifully illustrated, but not easy to use
This is my second favorite gardening book. It is very comprehensive with over 400 plant listings. It has descriptive listings of the different varieties of each species. The photographs are informative and beautifully shot.

I am mot awarding 5 stars for the following reasons. Important information such as water needs is missing. The other information is poorly organized and forces you to read through a large description to find it. The chapter divisions are not usably organized. For example Dale Grooms Texas Gardening Guide has chapters on Annuals, another on Bulbs, Corms, Rhizomes, and Tubers, another on Native Wildflowers, another on Perennials, and a separate chapter on Roses. Dale Groom also has icons identifying Sun Preference and whether it is Drought Resistant. This is much easier to use.

Well worth having in your library, but because it is not easy to use, it will probably not be the first book you reach for.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Nice
Wonderful book on the ins and outs of gardening in Texas. Lots of hints and ideas to use for designing and maintaining your yard, garden, etc... Great reference. Highly recommended ... Read more


5. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: West (National Audubon Society Field Guide)
by Miklos D. F. Udvardy, John, Jr. Farrand, National Audubon Society
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679428518
Catlog: Book (1997-02)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 11497
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

A favorite of birdwatchers (especially those who prefer photographs to illustrations), this field guide, revised for 2000, accounts for the 544 bird species that live in the region west of the Great Plains. The clearly printed color photographs capture birds at rest and in flight; preceded by black-and-white silhouettes, the plates are organized by visually based, intuitive categories--"hawk-like birds," "pigeon-like birds," and "perching birds," for example--that make on-the-fly identification a fairly simple matter. The images are matched by clearly written text that describes a given bird, gives an approximation of its voice, and details its habitat, range, nests, and behavior. Sized to fit in a jacket or backpack pocket, this is a valuable companion for any birding outing in the region. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Do not leave home without it!
We purchased our first Field Guide almost twenty years ago when my eldest son was in the fifth grade and during spring break his class had a contest to see which student could identify the most species. It just happened that week we packed our family in the car and drove from the deserts of Idaho, through eastern Oregon and the Mahuer National Bird Sanctuary to the Oregon coast. If my memory serves me right, we identified nearly a hundred species of birds. This started a twenty-year love affair with our Field Guide to North American Birds. We were hooked. So much so, after losing my book, I immediately purchased another one. To his day, my Field Guide and binoculars are by our dinning room window. Each spring and summer we try to identify new species to our area. Hey, birding a great hobby and it does not cost a lot of money.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Field Guide for Birders
This is an excellent guide to identifying birds. The National Audubon Society is an excellent authority on all things nature, and therefore it is not surprising that the National Audubon Society would publish a helpful guide. The guide helps a birder identify birds by behavior, size, habitat, plumage, call, and location. There are color photographs of many birds to guide the birder. The plates are grouped by family which makes basic identification easy. The book also has a section that describes each bird as well as maps that show the likely locations where birds can be found. The color plates are enjoyable simply to look at, and can help a person prepare for possible sightings. The book is small enough that it can be carried to the field. The cover is also durable so it can withstand wear and tear. Since the boos are divided buy Eastern Region and Western Region, so the book is not very cumbersome.

5-0 out of 5 stars Midway between the birding dilletantes and obsessives
The National Audubon Society has long been respected as, among other things, the publisher of a series of top-notch field guides to the natural world in North America. Their volumes include birds, trees, butterflies, insects and spiders, wildflowers, mammals, rocks and minerals, mushrooms, fish... you name it. Several of the books are specific to geographic regions. This review is of the National Audubon Society FIELD GUIDE TO BIRDS - WESTERN EDITION.

This book is compact; it measures 4" x 7-1/2" x 1-1/2" thick, just the right size to fit into your pocket or day-pack if you're inclined to take it on a walk.

It's very thoughtfully and logically organized with four major sections, as follows:

INTRODUCTION
This includes a discussion of both the art and science of birding and the organization of the book. It includes a highly detailed rendering of a "typical" bird with all the anatomical points used in the book identified by their common names.

COLOR KEY
The avian kingdom is broken down into categories (long-legged waders, gull-like birds, owls, pigeon-like birds, hawks, tree-clinging birds, hummingbirds, perching birds, and so on.) Each category is assigned a silhouette. The categories are further broken down into families. So, in the category of hawks, we have ospreys, caracaras, vultures, hawks, falcons, harriers, kites, and eagles. Each family has its own silhouette symbol.

COLOR PLATES
This is a series of color photographs of 676 birds. The photographs are organized by the categories mentioned above. Most of the color plates show adult males, but some distinctive females and juveniles are also shown, along with seasonal changes in plumage. Each photograph identifies the bird by its common name, gives its overall length, and cites the page on which you can find more complete details about it.

Each color plate page has a thumb index with the silhouetted symbol for the birds on that page. The birds are arranged within their families by their predominant color, and the silhouettes are colored accordingly, to make it even easier to find your bird.

SPECIES ACCOUNTS
These are the write-ups cited in the color plates. Each citation gives the pages on which photographs may be found, the common and Latin names for the bird, and brief descriptions of the birds physical appearance. It also includes information on its voice, habitat, nesting habits and eggs, and range. There's even a tiny map of North America with its range shaded in gray.

At the end of this section is information about bird-watching, conservation, a glossary of terms used in the Guide, photographers' credits, and an index in both English and Latin.

What makes this Guide so easy to use is the way the color plates are organized, Without knowing anything at all about birds, I was able to identify a brightly colored bird that was hopping around my garden one day, and it took me less than one minute to do so. All I had to do is flip through the color plates, using the silhouettes, until I found the one of the right shape and color. My bird was on the second page of that section.

I also love the compact size and sturdy leatherette binding. This book will fit easily into a pack or pocket, and will stand up to damp weather.

If you're a life-list birding obsessive, this book might not be enough for you because it doesn't picture every color variation of every bird in every species and family. For that, you probably need Sibley. But for people like me, who enjoy backyard birding and want to know what we're looking at, it can't be beat.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book with a few issues
The pictures and how they are categorized are good. The only issue that I came across was that when given pictures of what some birds look like in Winter and Spring they weren't always next to each other. One would be on one page and then a few pages later there would be the other shot.
I would have liked to have seen shots of both male and female versions of the birds since in most cases they do look quite a bit different. And in some cases with this book there were those shots.
I liked the fact that it gave you what pages to go to to read about the birds. Instead of having to look up alphabetically.
The cover of the book is durable to withstand the turmoils of bird watching.
Overall the book is good for a newbie to bird watching.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pocket-sized and Field Worthy
The saving grace of this bird book is its portable nature. It is small enough to fit in a back pocket when traversing over hill and dell tracking down that Northern Flicker. The cover is also of durable material to weather the dirt, grass, the weather, or whatever you put it through. Those are the good things.

The detractors are that when compared to other bird books, the format isn't the friendliest. To find all the scoop about a particular bird it is easy to locate the picture, however there is a separate section identifying habitat, range, behavior, etcetera. Then there is a numbering system separate from the page numbers that make all this cross-referencing and flipping back and forth between the pictures and the descriptions somewhat confusing. Another confusing thing about the picture sequencing is that two different views of the same bird aren't always placed together. For instance, on frame number 185 (not the page number mind you) we find the Pied-billed Grebe winter plumage and then a couple pages over oddly enough on frame 195 we find what the Pied-billed Grebe looks like the rest of the year. So now we want to know more about this feathered-floater, we are directed back to the back of the book...pg. 341 (we are back to going by page numbers) to find out that this little guy has earned the local name, "Hell Diver."

So for an easier to use guide to read from the comfort of your living room or from a car's passenger seat, I would point you to the Stokes Guide to Birds. Audubon's book does have some good info and unique details on particular birds that can't be found elsewhere, can be carried into the field with ease, and does include some pretty good pics. The two complement each other nicely, but if I had to choose one...it'd be the Stokes. ... Read more


6. Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas
by Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach
list price: $39.95
our price: $27.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1878348302
Catlog: Book (2002-02)
Publisher: New World Publications
Sales Rank: 4024
Average Customer Review: 4.95 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

825 classic marine life photographs of 600 common and rare reef fish species. The easy-to-use, quick reference format makes it a snap to identify the myriad of fishes in Florida, Caribbean and Bahamas waters. A must for every serious diver. 6 inch x 9 inch, cloth stitched flexibinding that allows the book to lie flat. ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Fish Identification Guide Available!
When I first received this book as a christmas gift from my mother,I was shocked. It was spiral bound,but twice the size of a norma fish identification guide. At 424 pages & 670 photos,it is rather spectacular. Although I have only seen it in pictures,the west atlantic is my favourite underwater landscape,and therefore,it was a great honour to own this book.
The book begins with an introduction to fishes in the caribbean and the ecology of the reefs. A massive ID book is needed to identify fishes on the world`s second largest reef area.
Different from most other fish ID books,it is a rather special one that is dividing the fish into groups based on look rather than relationship. I`ll go through these groups one by one in this review.
ID group 1 is Disks/Oval,featuring some of my favourite fish,making a perfect beginning of the book.
Butterflyfish,angelfish,and surgeonfish can be found here.
Every description includes a short description of colors and gender differences,if any,distribution,family,size,depht and reaction to divers,and natural habitat.
The photographs are accompanied by b/w drawings of the silhouettes.
The second one is a rather large chapter,covering the silvery,stream-lined ocean hunters like barracudas,porgies,mojarras,dolphins,mullets,and the large predator cobia. Not very colorfull,but still majestic.
The 3rd chapter includes Sloping Head/Tapered body,with snappers and grunts as the main families.The grunts can be rather varied.
The 4th one includes Small Ovals,where the damselfish and chromis can be found. There are no anemonefish in the caribbean,but these are closely related to those. Also included here are the hamlets,which are all subspecies of one species.
These are very colorfull and cute little critters. The next chapter is Heavy Body/Large Lips,including the largest bony fishes here - groupers,of which the jewfish can weigh 900 pounds!
These are clumsy,but still charmy fishes. Except 30 species of those,the little fairy basslet,the most beautifull fish of the caribbean,is included here too,yellow and purple.
Swim with Pectoral Fins,which is ID group 6,includes the varied family of parrotfishes and wrasses,which are very colourfull. The Hogfish can also be found here,the character of the caribbean. ID group 7 introduces Reddish/Big Eyes,with the big-eyed squirrelfishes and the small,but beautifull cardinalfish.
ID group 8 treats the Small,Elongated Bottom-Dwellers,whose beauty is often underestimated,especially the cute gobies. The sailfin blenny is one of my favourites. Here,we can also find the yellowhead jawfish,which is a famous fish here too. Odd-Shaped Bottom Dwellers includes the toadfish and the funny-looking flounders & batfishes,who walks on their fins!I am very fascinated by the looks of the strange frogfishes. Odd-Shaped Swimmers (chapter 10) includes the pufferfish,which can fill themselves with air,and the funny-looking trumpetfish. Also found here are the boxfishes,who are covered with armor,except for their fins,eyes and mouth. They can have very beautifull colors. The triggerfish can be found too. They are colorfull,although agressive inhabitants of the coral reefs. So are their close relatives,the filefishes.
And finally,the cutest fish in the Caribbean,can also be found here. It is the little yellow porcupinefish,less than an inch in size. The famous jack-knife is also found in this chapter. It looks like a cross between a scalare and a chromis!
It is believed to be the juvenile form of the web burrfish.
The 11th chapter is the Eel Deal of the book. Here comes the snake eels,beautifull but mysterious bottom dwellers. And last,but not least,the venomous moray eels also lurks in this chapter. The 8-foot green moray is the most famous,while the most scary one is the viper moray with huge teeth!I love moray eels,so this is a paradise for me!
The final chapter "Sharks & Rays" deals with the ultimate UW predators. But not all sharks a fierce. In fact,the whale shark is one of the friendliest fishes in the world,reaching a size of 60 feet and harmless to everything but plancton!The nurse shark is also a character of the Caribbean. Other ones included here are the manta ray,lemon shark,mako shark (the fastest fish in the world)and the dangerous tiger & bull sharks.
This is a chapter I would have liked to expand a bit,but as many sharks are not reef dwellers,I understand why they did not included the great white and/or the Megamouth.
Over all,now I have gone through all chapters fastly,but you have to see this book to really enjoy it. When I go to the Caribbean or Florida,I will bring this book and see how many fish I can identify.
So go get it!

5-0 out of 5 stars So Much Fun
I recently aquired my scuba certifications in Belize, but needless to say, did not know much about the fish I was encountering during my first several dives. I bought a the Reef Fish Identification CD at the recommendation of my dive shops owner. This CD is great! I have completely enjoyed how interactive it is. I have been using the flash cards to help me and now I am starting to feel confident that I will be able to identify many more fish on my next dive. I will be taking this everywhere with me. I also recently purchased the Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific in book form and will be taking that with me to Hawaii for my next dive vacation. Buy it, it's worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very necessary compact disc!
The CD of Reef Fish Identification is one of the most entertaining and reliable guides available. The CD is very fun to play, and will occupy a user for hours at a time. There are several categories of fish covered, including: Pufferfish, Angelfish, flatfish, and many others. The paperbook book edition is just as excellent and beautiful as the disc, with the CD being less bulky and easier to carry along with you. The disc offers more, however, including ocean clips, trivia, and sea fish finder. The animals shown in the field guide section are excilaratingly beautiful. Ultimate 1000+ page field guide on a disc! The book editions, which have been updated exactly three times over the years, are not worth the continuous expense, as the disc is the latest edition available.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fish ID Essential
Great book for anyone interested in knowing what you're looking at while diving. Easy to understand and has information on different stages (male/female/juvenile)in a fish life. Beautiful pictures. Great variety of fish. The authors have also listed the fish reaction to divers, so it makes life a little easier if you like photography. Also listed is how rare or common the animal is, what geographical area it is found in and its habitat. I go back to this book everytime I dive. I love it and would easily reccomend it to anyone who is interested in learning more on fish.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Dive Buddy
I bought this book seven years ago, when I began scuba diving, and it has accompanied me on every dive trip. I remain impressed by how comprehensive and user-friendly it is. It may be the best equipment investment I've ever made! ... Read more


7. The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, and Primates
by Richard D. Estes, Daniel Otte
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1890132446
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 5383
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Have!
I just returned from a 10 day safari in Tanzania. The Safari Companion was informative and enlightening. Our tour guide asked me for my copy when the safarai was over! It seems the book is in such high demand in Africa, it commands nearly double the cover price. I gave her my copy. Because I enjoyed reading it so much on the trip and hope to use it to explain the 500+ pictures I took while there, I ordered another one when I came home!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for Amateurs
Most African Mammal guides are designed for people working in that field. Here, we have one specifically designed for the average enthusiast who wants to know a bit more than provided in the also essential Audobon Guide to African Wildlife. Let's face it - while you may get the occasional bird or even reptile enthusiast, it's the mammals that capture the imagination of the average person on the street when it comes to the wildlife of Africa.

You don't have to travel to the Dark Continent to enjoy this one, and - in acknowledgement that people can be interested in wildlife without necessarily being able or willing to go on Safari - it's also designed for use if you're fortunate enough (as I am) to be a regular at a quality zoo or even a regular viewer of "National Geographic" or "Nature".

The book is very easy to use and browse through, explaining habits and noting the best parks and reserves for each animal, as well as the animal's major predators or relationship with other predators. You don't have to look through it long to wish for similar volumes for Asia and North America.

Certainly worthy of being one of the first books on the shelf of anyone who loves African wildlife.

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect safari companion
Just returned from a safari to Tanzania. This book, along with the Audubon Field Guide to African Wildlife, made our experience that much better. The information contained in this book embellishes the wildlife viewing experience, by providing fascinating and in-depth information about the animals seen there. The text is organized very well and crammed full with useful information. Highly recommended reading for before a safari, and especially while there.

4-0 out of 5 stars My most-thumbed book in Botswana
This is the book my tracker had in his jeep on a trip I took to southern Africa (SA, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia). My tracker didn't need it, but I found it fantastic reading during siestas and the longer drives. There are so many behavioural explanations missing from the standard safari guide. What's the difference between a high-horn threat and a low-horn threat in a roan antelope? I could see the different display postures, and this book told me a little more precisely what the display was all about. The only problem with this book is that there is no guide to spoor, so you'll have to get one. There are no colour photos, which is good for identification, because you don't want to get hung up on slight colour variations. Sometimes a roan antelope is about the same colour as a sable antelope. Look at the other identification marks. Anyway, as soon as I found a bookshop, I bought my own copy, and I still refer back to it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent but illustrated
While I agree with most of the other reviewers comments,I wouldn't agree that it is the only book you need. Descriptions and explanations are exemplary but the book is black/white illustrations with no color and no photographs. ... Read more


8. Last Chance to See
by DOUGLAS ADAMS, MARK CARWARDINE
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345371984
Catlog: Book (1992-10-13)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 7576
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Very funny and moving...The glimpses of rare fauna seem to have enlarged [Adams'] thinking, enlivened his world; and so might the animals do for us all, if we were to help them live."
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
Join bestselling author Douglas Adams and zooligist Mark Carwardine as they take off around the world in search of exotic, endangered creatures. Hilarious and poignant--as only Douglas Adams can be--LAST CHANCE TO SEE is an entertaining and arresting odyssey through the Earth's magnificent wildlife galaxy.
... Read more

Reviews (143)

4-0 out of 5 stars Journey Of A Lifetime
This book was an absolute delight to read. It will make you laugh but also makes you think and feel very sad that such beautiful creatures are no longer here on earth and others are becoming extinct. The authors (Douglas Adams & Mark Carwardine) go on a journey to see the world's rarest and most endangered animals. Along the journey they tell of their adventures with the animals as well as dedicated people trying to save them. The main species featured in the book are the komodo dragon, northern white rhino, mountain gorilla, kakapo (ground dwelling parrot), baiji dolphin (Yangtze-River dolphin) and Rodriguez fruit bat. Each of these animals have a heart breaking story and people racing to save the species. I would recommend this book to nature lovers of any age. There were many parts of the book I enjoyed during my journey around the world with Douglas Adams & Mark Carwardine. I learned things that I never knew, not only about the animals but also about the places they visited. I stayed interested throughout the entire book and that is a task for me. It seemed as though they had many obstacles to conquer in the beginning of their travels. I would have to say my favorite part of the book was when they were looking for and found the mountain gorilla. The excitement they were feeling passes right through you. I really enjoyed the part when the gorilla watches the author as he takes a piece of pink writing paper out of his bag and starts to take notes. After a short while the gorilla touches the paper then the top of the pen. The gorilla did not want to take the pen or paper, he just wanted to see what it was. That would be so cool to experience and scary at the same time. The funniest part in the book was when they went to China, to the Yangtze River to look for the baiji dolphin. They decided they wanted to see what the river actually sounded like under the water and to record it, but they forgot to get water proof microphones, so what they did was go to buy condoms to cover the microphone with. They didn't speak chinese, and the Chinese women didn't really speak much english, so they had to figure out a way to tell them that they needed condoms. It was hilarious! Then there is the breath taking journey to find the kakapo. This was one of the more intense searches for a species. The guys along with the help of a kakapo tracker by the name of Arab and his dog Boss, went through a lot but did finally find the kakapo. Of course I cannot forget the feeling of fear I got from them as they approach the Island of Komodo in search of the komodo dragon. Knowing that just the saliva of a komodo dragon can kill man is enough to fear. Still you can sense the joy these men feel when they locate one of these animals. These are just samples of the exciting stories you will read in the book. Each of the animals have their own special part in the book. The author tells in detail about the animals and the journeys they themselves take to find the species so they know for sure that they still exist and try to make sure they continue on in life. I feel that if more people paid attention to what is happening to our animals maybe they would try a little harder to keep them from going extinct. For instance, the most famous extinct animal of all is a large dove with the weight of a well fed turkey, the dodo. This animal was clubbed to death just for the sport of it. It's meat was tough and bitter so there really has never been any reason for humans to kill it. Then there is the story of the extinct giant tortoises. These are all very interesting, but sad stories. As you read through the book there are many animals mentioned and the status of their species. I am sure if more people read this book, these and many more animals would be cared for before they too become extinct. After reading the book, it seems as though things are going in the right direction for those animals, as at the end of the book the author tells of a coupke letters they received. One was good news and one not so good news, but so long as we keep getting the good news the efforts being made to keep these animals from becoming extinct is well worth the time and money it takes. You will have to read the book to find out what an awesome journey Douglas adams and Mark Carwardine can take you on and how you will feel as though you are there with them. This is a great book so take the time to read it, you will not be sorry!

3-0 out of 5 stars British humor, makes fun safari!
Douglas Adams' Last Chance to See is a book that takes the reader on his journey visiting endangered species. This could be the most boring topic to read about, but the way British writer Adams' writes is so funny the reader cannot help but laugh their way through the book. Above all about this book, the reader comes away with so much knowledge about these animals.
When it came to endangered species I was one of those people that would know the least about the topic, but because of Last Chance To See, I am familiar with all kinds of animals now. The book begins with Adams going to Madagascar going to see the aye-aye which is a lemur near extinction. Come to find out the aye-aye is a nocturnal lemur and is very strange looking. The book goes on to talk about komodo dragons, keas, kakapo, north island robins, echo parakeets and so many more animals. My favorite to read about was the Qi-Qi baiji dolphin. The information about the animal was absolutely fascinating.
Humorous comments about situations Adams finds himself in are written so cleverly. One of my favorites comments Adams makes is in reference to scrunching up Norway taking out all the moose's and filling it with birds would be a waist because it was already a place, New Zealand. Little comments and events that happen cause me to be even more interested in the book and enjoy reading more of it.
Adams non-fiction Last Chance To See is just a really well done book on endangered species. Adams makes a strong point in the book that if no one cares, and lets these animals become extinct, we can never bring them back. The world will never have these fascinating creatures if we don't put and end to the animals that are becoming extinct by the thousands every year. If anyone is interested in learning more on the subject and having some good laughs I would tell them to stick out the first chapter and once you get into the book you will really enjoy reading Last Chance To See.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent mix of fact and humor
Douglas Adams brings the dreadful statistics to life with humor and an approach that makes it easier to understand why people care - and what we can do. Even if you don't care about extinctions, this is a good read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Douglas Adams best book......And it still holds up well
I have not read all 147+ reviews of this book, but I am sure that at least one other person has mentioned that this book was Mr. Adams's favorite of all his books. Anyone who enjoys (even vaguely) The Hitchhiker's Guide series will see why Adams was so proud of this book.

This is much more than a book on ecology. This is not a book on how awful humans are, and if the reader had one shred of social conscious, the reader would immediately do him/herself if for the good of the planet. In writing this book, Mr. Adams knew that there were already forests of trees chopped up for numerous retelling of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." Mr. Adams, then, needed to produce the book on ecology one would expect from a science fiction comedy writer. And he does.

"Last Chance to See" reads like an adventure story of Douglas the city kid, heading out into the wild to look at animals that are on the brink of extinction, and the efforts and personalities of the few who are trying to prevent that extinction. See Douglas Adams lose his mind while his small helicopter flies within inches of sheer faces. Listen to Douglas Adams explain why he doesn't care for birds in general, but feels a special affinity for birds that can't fly (It all relates back an emu running lose in a zoo. Adams stared the emu in its eye, and realized the strain of not flying made it "barking mad"). Empathize with Adams in 1988 Beijing (when western tourists were still a novelty), trying to explain to clerks who do not quite speak english that he wants to buy condoms (I am not making that up).

If you have ever enjoyed anything by Douglas Adams, you will not be disappointed by this book--But you will once again be heartbroken that such a fun and gifted author died so young.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Sad... witty yet regretful
A race to document a dying species... Adams' wit and humor make an enjoyable read out of what could only otherwise be called a depressing topic. Still, through Adams' intelligent yet non-zoological eyes, we are shown areas of the world we will otherwise never see. The portrayal of the Kimono dragons, early in the book, is a shocking representation of what a a majestic reptile has been reduced to, and at the same time a morbid reminder of how wretched humans can be. Yet, due to Adams' skill we are able to feel his wonder and his fascination. We are able to get past the uncomfortable aspects of animal extinction, so that we can look it square in the eye and learn from it.

As much value on a humanitarian, ecological and zoological level as on a literary one. Adams' himself calls it his most prized and significant writing (I'm paraphrasing, read "Salmon of Doubt" to get his words).

I'd give it three thumbs up, but I only have two. ... Read more


9. Corals: A Quick Reference Guide (Oceanographic Series)
by Julian Sprung
list price: $34.95
our price: $29.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1883693098
Catlog: Book (1999-09)
Publisher: Ricordea Publishing
Sales Rank: 25118
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A comprehensive field guide for aquarists, divers and naturalists, with detailed full color photographs of hundreds of species, encompassing the majority of coral genera one is likely to encounter on reefs around the world, This book defines corals and distinguishes them form similar hydrozoans, zoanthids, and corallimorpharia. The corals are described and compared to similar looking species, and their range and the correct pronunciation of the Latin name is given.

In addition, for aquarists who grow corals in reef aquariums, information is provided in quick reference charts concerning each coral's requirements for light, water movement, and food, hardiness in captivity, aggressiveness toward other corals, and proper positioning in the aquarium. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
An excellent reference. Information is not as detailed as some other recent publications, but the pictures are excellent for identification. Use it as it is.... a "quick" reference. A definate must buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thanks
Fast delivery. Book is in great shape.. :)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have book !
This is one of the best illustrated books I've used. Each coral has a food charts with symbols that represent the various sources corals utilize for their nutrition, a chart indicating the range of the physical parameters required and a placement chart indicating proper postioning of the coral in an aquarium, assuming overhead lighting.

5-0 out of 5 stars This works...
Sure, it would also have been possible to include all the thousands of corals known worldwide in this book, instead of restricting to those held in aquaria. But then you wouldn't succeeed in bringing the book with you to the aquarium retailer in order to identify corals in the dealer's tank before you buy. With this book that works...

5-0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Addition to My Library
What a great start to the series! You can't ask for a more easy to use format. Very informative and staight to the point. And the pictures! This thing is a coffee table took and a reference guide! If you keep a reef aquarium you need to own this book. ... Read more


10. Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival (Survival School Handbooks / Tom Brown, Jr)
by Tom Brown
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425105725
Catlog: Book (1989-04-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 15548
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (31)

2-0 out of 5 stars Good stories, meager knowledge
Tom Brown is a charismatic, inspiring story teller...one of the best. But if you are interested in learning these skills, you'd be much better off with McPherson's "Naked into the Wilderness" or "Bushcraft" by Mors Kochanski or Larry Dean Olsen's "Outdoor Survival Skills". For hide tanning (brain tanning) check out "Deerskins into Buckskins" by Matt Richards, tracking try "Mammal Tracking in North America" by James Halfpenny. Just about any edible plant guide will out do this book.

Tom has inspired more people's interest in wilderness living/survival, and for that he deserves kudos. His most inspirational reading is "The Tracker". Get it and it will change your life. But if you want to actually learn the skills, you're better off elsewhere.

3-0 out of 5 stars Survival situation?
This book is what it claims to be, i.e., a wilderness survival book. It teaches basic survival techniques such as locating water, building a fire and shelter, and "living off the land."

What this book is NOT is a book for nature lovers. Personally, I don't want to know 100 different gruesome ways to trap an animal, or how to build a thatch hut that will last 6 months, or how to make hide clothing accessories...all this in my, possibly, 1-2 day "survival situation"!?! Honestly, how many people get lost in the woods each year? Can't be that many (or for too long). I feel like Tom and his tracker school disciples DON'T WANT to be found, should they get lost. They want as much time as possible to test their perfectly honed survival skills, hopefully getting ample chance to eat leaves, bark, insects and trapped animals, not to mention building grass huts and stuffing their clothes with leaves. His book could have been called "Learn How to Treat the Wilderness as if it Were One Big Supermarket." Or "Nature Jocks."

Common sense is a far better survival tool than all the pages in this book: be prepared for the worst if you are going deep into the wilderness (but how many people actually do this) and learn a few basic survival techniques from a Boy Scout Guidebook. Better yet, don't treat Nature as your playground. Just take a walk in the woods, listening, watching, enjoying. Don't stop to identify each plant you could eat, or what animal track you passing over. Just breath in what Mother Nature has to offer. Leave your enormous buck knife and ample cordage at home.

The tracker school mentality is more about using nature's woods and dales as a place to roll around in the mud, practice kendo and make silly tools and living shelters. Just take a damn walk. Why complicate things?

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This book is great. It is met to be a teaching guide, get it and do the exercises that are in the book and you will learn a lot. This book is loaded with information, I recommend all his books, get Tom Brown' Field Guide to Nature Observation with this one too.

5-0 out of 5 stars A unique experience
I have read most of Tom's books, some of them repeatedly, and attended two of his survival classes. My experience says that Tom is an unusual person, who writes unusual books, based on his unusual life. Tom told us in one class that he estimates that from the time he met Stalking Wolf up through high school age, he spent an average of 40 hours a week in the woods. In his classes and books he attempts to teach not only specific skills but also a way of life, attitudes, and as much as he can of actual experience rather than descriptions ABOUT experiences. This is a tall order for any teacher.

This book is about skills which Tom has used to live year round and in all sorts of weather from Canada to Death Valley, wilderness to the heart of New York City. They do work. However, keep in mind that it is impossible to teach skills - actual experience - through a book. And keep in mind that Tom was taught, and teaches himself, in a manner which expects the student to question, investigate, experiment, discover, and learn on h/is/er own. He would consider anything else a cheap way of cheating the student. If you can approach the contents of this book, and his others, in this spirit, you will have enough here to learn from for many years.

3-0 out of 5 stars why only 3 stars
I've read all the reviews and I have to add something. While this book has alot of useful information, it doesn't contain every trap method, shelter, edible plants, etc,etc. Tom Brown's style of writing is more of a story telling. To some, this makes the book more interesting but not to everyone. All the stories take up alot of space and is very inefficient way of learning survival skills, much to the point that alot of things are left out and never discussed. This doesn't mean this book is uninformative but it's far from complete. ... Read more


11. Conservation Directory 2005: The Guide To Worldwide Environmental Organizations (Conservation Directory)
by National Wildlife Federation
list price: $80.00
our price: $80.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559635134
Catlog: Book (2004-12-30)
Publisher: Island Press
Sales Rank: 1329954
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Resource
This is a must for conservation education professionals. The numerous indexes and summary descriptions of organizations are wonderful. ... Read more


12. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica : A Herpetofauna between Two Continents, between Two Seas
by Jay M. Savage
list price: $75.00
our price: $75.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226735370
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 133046
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

World renowned for its biological diversity and model conservation system, Costa Rica is home to a wide variety of amphibians and reptiles, from the golden toad to the scorpion lizard and the black-headed bushmaster. Jay M. Savage has studied these fascinating creatures for more than forty years, and in The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica he provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date treatment of their biology and evolution ever produced.

Savage begins with detailed discussions of the natural and cultural history of Costa Rica, setting the stage for a detailed treatment of each of the 396 species of amphibians and reptiles that may be found there. Each species account synthesizes and analyzes everything that is known about the animal's anatomy, behavior, geographic distribution, systematics, and evolutionary history and provides keys for identifying amphibians and reptiles in the field. In addition to distribution maps and systematic and morphological illustrations, the book includes color photographs of almost every known species, many taken by the distinguished nature photographers Michael and Patricia Fogden.

Because Costa Rica has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role in the study of tropical biology as well as in the development of ecotourism and ecoprospecting, and because more than half of the amphibians and reptiles in Costa Rica are also found elsewhere in Central America, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica will be an essential book for a wide audience of nature lovers, naturalists, ecotourists, field biologists, conservationists, and government planners.


... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it just for the color plates!
It's breadth of knowledge and splendorous photos will greatly increase your travel pleasure, because you really CAN see these animals just casually criss-crossing the country; you don't have to go to a special preserve.

In fact, another book I brought with me to Costa Rica last year, "Costa Rica : The Last Country the Gods Made," had a photo of a giant iguana that was taken literally 5 steps off the sand at the ultra-popular Manuel Antonio beach!

And guess what? I saw one when I was there!

5-0 out of 5 stars Costa Rica, Reptile Place
I have spent a considerable amount of time in Costa Rica, and I found this book to be both accurate and interesting. The reptiles, the amphibians...they're all there. Costa Rica is a beautiful country, and this is a beautiful book. A+,

5-0 out of 5 stars Best on Herps for Costa Rica
I have known the author for 30 years. He knows more about the amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica than anyone I know. The pictures are spectacular. Kudos to both authors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Between 2 continents and between 2 seas indeed
I have been waiting for this book for over a year and it was well worth it. With over 40 years of 'herping' Costa Rica Jay Savage needs no introduction. Neither do the photographers Michael and Patricia Fogden. Their stunning images of the tropics and its reptiles and amphibians are everywhere. Costa Rica currently has 178 amphibian species and 218 reptile species. Additionally, there are two introduced frogs and four introduced lizards. Savage covers them all. In fact the subtitle covers it moreso. Nearly everything related to herps between two continents and between two seas is covered.

Savage states he wrote this book for several audiences: the general reader with an interest in biology and the herpetofauna, the amateur or part-time naturalist with some background in biology, the tropical biology and herpetolgy student, and the professional biologist. I would say that Savage has succeeded wildly in hitting his broad mark. The book is in four parts. The first gives the layperson a general background of biology, classification, and systematics. This also serves as a good refresher for those familiar with the terms or who is new to learning them. Savage tells us how to observe, where to look, how to catch, and how to preserve as specimens or keep as study subjects the diverse herpetofauna in Costa Rica. Included is a brief political history of Costa Rica. This is just the first chapter. He then describes, in depth, Costa Rica's climate, geography, and numerous habitats and vegetation patterns. Then we learn how to use the meat of this book; the keys.

Parts two and three are the keys to all the known amphibians and reptiles, respectively, of Costa Rica. These keys, broken into appropriate chapters are incredible. We get family descriptions, species accounts, descriptions of eggs, larvae, and adults, location maps, body part nomenclature, countless figures including tadpoles, tadpole mouthparts, body patterns, and headscale counts. This may all sound arcane to the uninitiated but it is invaluable to experts in identifying individual species. Beginners could forego some of this information and focus on more broad details to identify if the snake they saw was poisonous or the frog outside their cabin was a treefrog. Conversely, if you wanted to know the difference between Sibon annulatus and Sibon longifrenis it is in here. The words and drawings are backed up by over 500 color plates detailing nearly every species mentioned. Incredible considering the rarity of some species. There are stunning plates of habitats but mostly they are smallish (6 to a page) but excellent and very descriptive images of the animals. Where else would you find such detailed images of elusive caecelians and salamanders alongside the extinct golden toad Bufo periglenes, numerous and nondescript rain frogs, all the lacertid lizards, snakes, turtles, and crocodilians? Any single part of this text would prove useful. It is hard to believe that so much has been accomplished.

Part four gives us ecological and geographical distribution patterns, evolution and development of herpetofauna, and information of plate movements and land bridge formation. Savage then ends with his explanation of why there are so many species between two continents and between two seas. Included are an addendum, a 17 page glossary, a 50 page literature cited section(!), and two indices. This tome is over 900 pages. There is a ton of information here and the reader can pick and choose what they need or want to know. I haven't read this book cover to cover, yet. And, I am not an expert herpetologist. There certainly could be errors in species accounts but that would most likely be left for a few select individuals to argue over. What I can say is that this text would have easily been too big of a project for it to succeed or prove useful. Somehow, Savage manages it in such a way as to be a benchmark for herpetological texts and guides. I honestly can not say when I've been this excited about a book, although Duellman's Hylid Frogs reprint is a good second. There is much more to this book. Want to know? Buy it.

What this book is not is a field guide in the classic sense. This is a large hefty book. Not likely to be packed in the luggage of a vacationing tourist. If you will be spending some time conducting work in this beautiful country then find something else to leave behind and bring the book. If you are like me then read it before you leave and after you return. You'll know where to look for specific animals and also find it useful in identifying prized photos weeks after returning. If you are looking for a classic herping field guide then try Twan Leenders new book. It is pocket sized and has lots of useful info. Better still own them both. ... Read more


13. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida
by National Audubon Society, Peter Alden
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067944677X
Catlog: Book (1998-05-26)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 6186
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

With its colorful coral reefs, excellent birding, and tropical temperatures, Florida remains a popular vacation spot for the ecologically minded. In this concisely detailed volume you'll become acquainted with the state's geologic origins, natural history, and diverse habitats (salt marshes, mangrove swamps, prairies, and woodlands). A field guide assists in the identification of some of the region's wildflowers, trees, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, mammals, and birds, including the elusive manatee, three species of dolphin, and the rare snail kite. An extensive sampling of the area's best parks, preserves, beaches, forests, islands, and wildlife sanctuaries, with thorough descriptions and visitor information on 50 destinations, is also included. For instance, the section on Everglades National Park includes information on wildlife viewing possibilities, driving directions, and popular touring attractions inside the park (such as Shark Valley, where a 15-mile loop via foot, rental bike, or tram affords close views of alligators, anhingas, and wading birds). Lesser-known areas such as Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and Withlacoochee State Forest are also featured. More than 1,300 color photographs heighten the quality of this handy compilation. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Florida for the Nature Lover
This Book is portable and all-incluseive. I was happy to see the state's wonderful parks included.It's clearly divided into sections such as;Topography, Night Sky,Habitats,Weather,Invertebrates,and more..If you are not adverse to writting in books this is the book for it. Each time I spot a bird,a plant, a flower, a tree that is shown in the book I date the picture of it. It makes a good historical review of sightings.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a good beginning
As a nature photographer and new to Florida this is what I needed, concise and accurate and small enough to fit into my camera bag this is an excellent book with well detailed sections, which make it easy to identify the wildlife. It also is a good read if you are intersted in Florida's wild life and ecology.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good for what it is.
This was one of the first reference books I picked up when I moved to Florida from up North, and it's been a valuable resource for identifying common flora and fauna in an unfamiliar region. Now that I AM familiar with the area, however, this guide isn't nearly as useful. Several times in the past month I have seen unfamiliar animals and insects (in my new affection for walking), and they haven't been included here.

The book includes the life that is COMMON to Florida, but if you have a desire to identify less common animals and plants, it's probably better to stick with the specialised field guides. Audubon usually does a better job than this, and make a few other books that are well put together and more inclusive than this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference
After living in Florida for a few years, I started to get curious about all the critters in my backyard. This book tells you about them all and has detailed color photos for easy identification. It's also quite comprehensive, including everything from bugs and mammals to state parks. A must-have reference if you live in Florida and are even remotely curious about the native wildlife.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great overall educational guide to Floridas' wildlife
Great book to keep in your car. Whenever I see something I don't recognize, I usually find it in this book. I've identified many plants and animals using this book. ... Read more


14. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants : Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
list price: $19.00
our price: $12.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039592622X
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Sales Rank: 27498
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

More than 370 edible wild plants, plus 37 poisonous look-alikes, are described here, with 400 drawings and 78 color photographs showing precisely how to recognize each species. Also included are habitat descriptions, lists of plants by season, and preparation instructions for 22 different food uses. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars How To Eat Nature
If you're like me and you enjoy trying to eat leaves and berries that you find while hiking and wandering about in nature, this is a handy book to own. The Peterson who wrote this book (son of the Peterson of the many, many wildlife guidebooks writer) is also a forest forrager and details some other cool books to own in the Introduction (including Stalking Wild Asparagus..excellent). I searched for a while to find a guide that would not only easily ID edible berries, roots and leaves..but also give recipe-like tips on how to prepare said roots and leaves..and they do here. Who knew, for example, that one could make a cool and refreshing beverage from staghorn sumac? Crafty! Guide is sub-divided into several search methods: color, plant-type (berry, leaf) and includes many color plates along with ink drawings to help to be sure that Amanita spp. mushroom you're eating won't cause you trouble later! And, the final great feature of the Peterson guides is that the front and back covers are tough so that you can make your copy go camping with you over many moons and you won't wear out your book. Nice!

4-0 out of 5 stars excellent book for beginners but has some problems
This book contains descriptions and uses of hundreds of useful plants and is probably the most imporant book to have in your edible plant book collection. It also gives fair warning when some evidence suggests possible risks.

Despite these points, there are some things that make it hard to use. First, because they are trying to cram in as many plants as possible, they don't give enough attention to many plants that deserve it and give very breif descriptions, although they do point out some of the main identifying features. Second, the pictures, at least for the first half of the book, are simply recycled from the Peterson Guide to Wildflowers, which means that they often leave out important parts that you really need to see. Third, the book is organized for the most part so that you can't find a plant unless you know the color of the flower, which makes it really difficult to recognize plants unless you find them during the period they flower, which is usually pretty short. And did anyone notice that they switched the pictures of Nodding Wild Onion and Field Garlic on page 115?

Of course, the descriptions and drawings are better than most books on the subject, and it does have many useful features, so this book is definately worth having.

4-0 out of 5 stars I have an older print
The only difference being the front cover has been updated.

This has a lot of very good line drawings and some photos. The information in it is very good.

But, I would suggest that people cross reference the plants they find with another field book before eating something.

The descriptions in the book are short, the emphasis is on the use of the plant and were you may find them. Remeber with out looking closely an untrained eye may mistake water hemlock (deadly) with water parsnip, cow parsnip, angelica, or wild raison at a quick glance. And that could be unfortunate to say the least. Other then that warning though I enjoyed this book and have had it a long time. It tends to be one of the books I carry with me when I go hiking and looking for plants and birds.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well written.
This book is very well written. it contains over 400 drawings and 78 color photos, to help in the identification of the mentioned plants. Each entry contains information on habitat, when they flower, a description and the uses. Also conatins any applicable warnings. The line drawings are very accurate and are more than enough, when coupled with the descriptions, to be able to identify just about any plant. But if you have any doubts, check the color photos. Also, at the back of the book, it contains the various types of plants divided up into habitat, and then each habitat divided into what plants can be harvested there during various seasons. This book is a great resource for any survivalist's bookshelf.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
This book is very well written. it contains over 400 drawings and 78 color photos, to help in the identification of the mentioned plants. Each entry contains information on habitat, when they flower, a description and the uses. Also conatins any applicable warnings. The line drawings are very accurate and are more than enough, when coupled with the descriptions, to be able to identify just about any plant. But if you have any doubts, check the color photos. Also, at the back of the book, it contains the various types of plants divided up into habitat, and then each habitat divided into what plants can be harvested there during various seasons. This book is a great resource for any survivalist's bookshelf. ... Read more


15. Reef Creature Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas
by Paul Humann, Ned Deloach
list price: $39.94
our price: $27.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1878348310
Catlog: Book (2001-11)
Publisher: New World Publications
Sales Rank: 22784
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The book that has been relied on for a decade by scientists, marine biologists, recreational divers and young naturalists. 660 fascinating photographs of crabs, lobsters, shrimps, jellies, sponges, tunicates and more! ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for identifying all types of sea creatures!
After we came back from our honeymoon, I wanted to buy my husband a book to help identify the various sea creatures we encountered on our trip, and this book turned out to be perfect. First of all, the animals are broken down into various categories such as "crabs," "squid," etc., and each classification is clearly labelled. There are wonderfully clear, glossy pictures of each individual creature combined with a detailed description which includes information such as size, colors, appearance of immature, habitat, and reaction to divers. An ideal book for serious research or just for fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best Guide available
Sponges, jellyfish, flat worms, crustaceans, mollusks, star fish, if it is not a fish then it is in this book. This is the authoritative reference for reef creatures (other than fish) throughout the Florida, Caribbean and Bahamas area. The most complete book on reef creatures that I have seen, it is easy to use and beautifully illustrated. Each creature has it's own full color picture along with a line drawing that points out the defining characteristics of that particular species. With a plastic cover and the pages treated to resist water it can be taken to the beach or onto the boat without much concern about the water damaging the book.

Each entry has complete information on the creature from size, depth, range and habitat to the level of concern that a diver should have for their safety around the creature. Whether you snorkel, scuba dive or engage in other activities around a reef, this is the best book to have to identify reef creatures. This book can also be purchased as part of a three part set that also includes the Reef Coral Identification and Reef Fish Identification texts, each of which is equally as excellent as the Reef Creature Identification book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The FINEST identification book out there!
This is a fantastic book, and along with the other two books by this author you should be able to ID any marine creature you encounter!

The book lists virtually all types of creatures including anemones, barnacles, jellyfish, flatworms, crabs, shrimp, octopuses, urchins, and much, much more!

Each entry has an excellent picture, the name, family, size, depth, and other detailed information.

The pictures alone are worth the cost of the book!

This is definitely the book you want to have with you when you dive or snorkel. Buy it today, you won't be disappointed!

5-0 out of 5 stars Indispensable identification book for divers
I have been diving for over ten years and I have made many small errors. Not having this book at the onset has been a very major error. Many times you come to the surface wondering what you have seen. Without this book you leave the reef still wondering about the natural contacts you have just experienced. A must buy for the beginning and advanced divers library.

5-0 out of 5 stars You need this book
This book is a great addition for your library. A must for the serious underwater photographer. ... Read more


16. The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America
by Francois Couplan
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0879838213
Catlog: Book (1998-11-11)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 35474
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars unbelievable
Although it lacks color pictures, it is by far the most complete listing of edible plants that I've ever seen (over 4000 plants covered) and tells you how to identify and use EVERY part of a plant from the Flower to the Leaf to the Bark to the Root (and any other part that may be usable) If your into long term survival or just want a snack on the trail, this book has it covered.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America
The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America, by Francois Couplan, Ph.D. is "a reference for all people interested in learning about the numerous opportunities nature offers us in the form of healthful, intriguing, often delicious vegetables and fruits that we do not have to grow to enjoy."

Couplan provides information for approximately 4000 varieties of wild plants, much of it based on his personal experience.

An ethnobotanist, Couplan began writing his Encyclopedia 25 years ago. During that time he traveled extensively, spending "a lot of time in the woods with very little in my backpack, finding my food in the plants I gathered." He took copious notes and presented "wild gastronomy" workshops, while also continuing his academic research and studies.

Plants are listed by their Latin names, however the index includes the common names.

Information for each plant includes a rating of how edible it is, how abundant it is, and where it grows. Etymology of most names are provided also; thus readers learn that dandelion comes from the French words for lion's tooth, because of the shape of the leaves.

Couplan describes how to prepare edible parts of the plant, and how they taste. He also discusses the nutritive values and medicinal properties of each plant. Where relevant, he provides information on other uses, such as dyes, soaps, and basketry. Endangered species are noted. The book does not include illustrations and is not intended for use as an identification manual.

Anyone who has ever wondered if a particular plant could be eaten, or how to harvest and prepare it, will find The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America informative and interesting. People wishing to add a little variety to their diet will find lots of suggestions, and those who use plants for healing will appreciate the medicinal details.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good, but NOT a field guide
This book is big and almost too thorough. It really is like an encyclopedia. It includes lots of plants which are only marginally edible and hard to find. On the other hand, you will have a hard time finding an edible plant out there that is not listed. There are some illustrations, but they are not useful for identifying the plants -- you will definitely need a field guide if you are just getting started and don't know much about identification. The book is interspersed with historical information and anecdotes which add a lot to the whole picture of a plant, as well as making it a bit easier to remember. This book is best read in tandem with another book that takes the topic from a different perspective. ... Read more


17. Guide to the John Muir Trail
by Thomas Winnett, Kathy Morey
list price: $11.95
our price: $11.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0899972217
Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
Publisher: Wilderness Press
Sales Rank: 117420
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On the legendary John Muir Trail you pass through a land of 13- and 14,000-foot peaks, deep canyons, massive granite walls, and sparkling lakes. Here's the best guide to this 211-mile hiking wonderland, written by two of WP's most venerable authors. 28 2-color maps are based on corrected, updated USGS topo maps. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book; the standard for a thruhike
First it is important for me to respond to David Sloan from Menlo Park, CA. This is not the venue to display your ignorance of distance backpacking and/or backpacking guides in general.

That aside, here I go.

This JMT guide is excellent. It does not advocate any one backpacking philiosophy over another. It simply presents the JMT trail beta. Used with the data book you would be in excellent care.

The JMT pushed me over 3,000 long distance miles and this guide fullfilled my very picky requirements for a trail guide.

Just buy it.

3-0 out of 5 stars If you're planning a thru hike, this is it
I have thru hiked the Muir Trail from north to south and found this book informative and containing some useful information. However, much of the info is of the common sense variety and could also easily be gleaned from the Internet. There is superfluous information on bear canisters, marmots and other hazards that any semi-experience hiker/backpacker would already know. The book is not marketed as being geared towards novices, but there's no doubt it would benefit a beginner and be less beneficial to a seasoned backpacker.

The first section of the book consists solely of topographical maps, so the text portion is not especially lengthy. There are route descriptions of each facet of the trail, such as explaining the drop off points, elevation gains and topography of Thousand Island Lake in Mammoth to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite. You could do a thru hike without this guide, but if you're the least bit apprehensive, then this would ease your worries.

5-0 out of 5 stars Descriptive of trail both ways, plus planning helps
One of the other reviewers said the book has nothing for planning a trip, but someone must have ripped out those pages from his copy. The book is more than a trail description; it includes descriptions of mid-way trailheads, resupply options, and other planning guides. This book is a great resource both for hiking the trail and planning to do so.

1-0 out of 5 stars Descriptive, but not useful
The first time I did the John Muir Trail I diligently bought this book like good little Internet researcher. I assumed, like everyone else, that this book would help me plan my trip. Not so. This book is like a play-by-play description of walking down the trail. It doesn't mention preparation, weather, seasons, services, rest stops, food drops, transportation...nothing. I quickly shelved this book and moved on to Ray Jardine's bible of the PCT. Although Ray's book often borders on insanity, it is full of trail wisdom. If Winnett's guide is the GEO Metro of trail books, Jardines is the Ferrari.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comments about the book from a 1997 JMT hiker
I hiked the JMT from Tuloumne Meadows in Yosemite to the Whitney Portal in July/August 1997. We used the book to plan the trip as well as for our exclusive guide book/map source on the hike. The book weighs next to nothing and I found it easier to keep track of one book rather than a whole bunch of maps, so it was worth taking. The book contains all necessary maps, trail descriptions in both directions, and a mileage/altitude chart. With the book, we always knew how many miles we had to hike in a given day and what the terrain would be like (elevation changes etc.) My only suggestion for improvement with the book would be for it to discuss recommended camping spots in more detail (perhaps by placing symbols on the map for particularly scenic spots, spots with bear boxes etc.) In general though, as someone who has hiked most of the JMT using this book as a guide, I'd highly recommend it. For the money and weight, you're unlikely to find anything better. ... Read more


18. A Field Guide to Bacteria
by Betsey Dexter Dyer, Betsey Dyer
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0801488540
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Sales Rank: 46870
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Although most people are aware that bacteria are all around us, few would guess that they produce such distinctive and accessible signs. Whether you’re walking on the beach, visiting a zoo or aquarium, buying groceries, looking for fossils, drinking beer, traipsing through a swamp, or cleaning scum from beneath a dripping outdoor faucet, you’re surrounded by bacterial field marks. You don’t need a laboratory or fancy equipment to find out what kind of bacteria are there—this guide will tell you how."—from the Introduction

Bacteria are an integral aspect of every habitat in which they occur and affect the lives of humans, other animals, and plants in many ways. Too often, we equate "bacterium" with "pathogen" and think of bacteria as things to avoid. In a fascinating guide perfect for naturalists, students, teachers, and tourists alike, Betsey Dexter Dyer lets the reader know that it is possible to observe bacteria with all the senses. Many groups of bacteria can be easily identified in the field (or in the refrigerator) without a microscope.

Written for curious souls of all ages, A Field Guide to Bacteria opens our eyes—and noses and ears—to this hidden (or neglected) world around us. Useful illustrations, including 120 color photographs, accompany Dyer’s lively text throughout. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars At Last: A Guide to Charismatic Microflora!
Betsey Dexter Dyer has written a book in "A Field Guide to Bacteria" that, once it is opened, you wonder why no one has written before. The premise is so obvious that it seems to have been totally overlooked! Location, visual appearance, activity, smell and other characteristics that do not always require a high-powered microscope can be used to identify bacterial colonies! Fortunately the "wait" for such a book (which, until now, we probably did not even know we needed) has been worth it because Dyer has done an excellent job of writing it! In this book she introduces the reader to the teaming microflora of bacteria of earth in a way that cannot help but increase the number of people who appreciate these invisible true owners of the planet.

The huge bacterial flora is well covered and the author's grasp of the multitudinous habitats where bacteria live and thrive, sometimes under the most extreme conditions, is impressive. Everything from sulfur bacteria, halophytes and causes of desert varnish to internal symbionts and more are covered in fascinating detail. Dyer has opened up a whole new way of looking at the world that give us a more accurate view of the pervasiveness of the tiny. Not all bacteria are out to get us by any means and this book provides a much needed balance to the "killer bacteria" usually featured in popular literature.

A necessary book for amateur and even professional microbiologists, it will also, I think, provide a good read for anyone interested in the natural world as it really is.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent even for professional microbiologists
While this book is intended for the general public, and is certainly accessible to those without microbiological training, don't pass it up even if you have microbiological training -- in many ways it is a condensed version of Balows' _The Prokaryotes_, and likewise quite useful for reminding oneself what obscure groups of bacteria do "for a living".

Of course, Dyer's book is a lighter, more amusing read than Balows', and chock full of the sort of anecdote that is fun to slip into a lecture -- such as the explanation of Charles Dickens' cryptic reference to a "bad lobster in a dark cellar" in _The Christmas Carol_, and the fact that the oddly named cyanobacterium _Nostoc_ was named by the alchemist Paracelsus!

In addition, I was pleasantly surprised that despite identifying herself on the very first page as a former student of Lynn Margulis, Dyer doesn't try to defend her mentor's continued rejection of the discoveries of molecular phylogeny, but even goes so far as to praise Woese and Sogin by name! It is refreshing to finally see a work of popular science that acknowledges how the pioneers of molecular phylogeny have changed microbiology over the last couple decades.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant concept, great execution, fun book
This fun and informative book starts with the brilliant idea of identifying bacteria by their MACROscopic field marks (colors, smells, effects) rather than by microscope. You would never believe how many bacteria one can identify by "field marks" alone, and readers will be surprised at how much fun the identification and discussion of bacteria can be. The author's execution of the guide -- her excellent and enthusiastic writing style and her choices of which bacteria to discuss -- makes this the rare field guide that one can read from cover to cover. The book discusses everything from bacteria in hot springs to those that make cheese or pickles, to those in animal intestines. There are beautiful (yes, beautiful) color plates, great suggested experiments, and guides to finding different kinds of bacteria. The author makes the subject interesting, funny and captivating -- and she uses exclamation points without irony! All in all an excellent book -- don't be scared off by the title; any nature- or science-lover you know will thoroughly enjoy it. ... Read more


19. Sibley's Birding Basics
by DAVID ALLEN SIBLEY
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375709665
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 4891
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“I wrote and illustrated this book to help every inquisitive birder, from novice to expert. Whether you can identify six birds or six hundred, you’ll be a better birder if you have a grounding in the real nuts and bolts of what birds look like, and your skills will be even sharper if you know exactly what to look for and how to record what you see.” —David Allen Sibley

The Sibley Guide to Birds
and The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior are both universally acclaimed as the new standard source of species information. And now David Sibley, America’s premier birder and best-known bird artist, takes a new direction; in Sibley’s Birding Basics he is concerned not so much with species as with the general characteristics that influence the appearance of all birds and thus give us the clues to their identity.
To create this guide, David Sibley thought through all the skills that enable him to identify a bird in the few instants it is visible to him. Now he shares that information, integrating an explanation of the identification process with many painted and drawn images of details (such as a feather) or concepts.

Birding Basics begins by reviewing how one can get started as a birder: the equipment necessary, where and when to go birding, and perhaps most important, the essential things to look for when birds appear in the field. Using many illustrations, David Sibley reviews all the basic concepts of bird identification and then describes the variations (of shape, size, and color) that can change the appearance of a bird over time or in different settings. And he issues a warning about “illusions and other pitfalls”—and advice on avoiding them.

The second part of the book, also plentifully illustrated, deals with another set of clues, the major aspects of avian life that differ from species to species: feathers (color, arrangement, shape, molt), behavior and habitat, and sounds.

This scientifically precise, beautifully illustrated volume distills the essence of David Sibley’s own experience and skills, providing a solid introduction to “naming” the birds. With Sibley as your guide, when you learn how to interpret what the feathers, the anatomical structure, the sounds of a bird tell you—when you know the clues that show you why there’s no such thing as “just a duck”—birding will be more fun, and more meaningful. An essential addition to the Sibley shelf!
... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent but strikes me as somewhat odd
Let me depart a bit from the other glowing reviews to point out something I think is slightly odd about this book. While the book has many outstanding features, I'm not sure it is the ideal "birding basics" book.

The first half of the book has some terrific information but is often light on content (the equipment section, birding by geography section, finding more info section) as well as some glaring gaps (breeding habits, migration patterns, birding history in North America). It's one thing to tell a beginning birder how the gestalt of a White Crowned Sparrow is different from that of a White Throated Sparrow but does the beginning birder even know when to expect either in their area? The ending on ethics and conservation is so small it almost plays to the criticism that birders are more in it for the sport than for birds themselves.

The second half of the book is a stunning review of the external structure of birds. It is better than many ornithology texts in this regard. Everything you could ever need to know about feather structure, molt, proportional differences and color perception is presented along with an excellent introduction to taxonomy and bird song.

Sibley is obviously playing to his strength here which is fine because what he knows, he really knows if you get my point. The art work is great, of course.

I don't want to come across as knocking this book. I own it, enjoy it and have learned a great deal from it. I recommend that you buy it. I'm just not sure it will serve this generation of up and comming birders as the ideal "basics" book the way Jack Connor's "The Complete Birder" did for many in the prior generation.

What do you think of a basics book that can take the time to touch on a birds nasal bristles or gestalt but omit a basic discussion on migration or breeding? Maybe it's me but it strikes me as a bit odd. I think the second half could have been published as part of a book called "Sibley's Ornithology for Birders" or something to that effect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to nany aspects of birding
I came into this book with some interest in learning to identify birds around the yard to a greater extent. This is the first book that I've seen to go beyond the basics of shape and color. It's actually a virtual biology lesson on birds with fine details about feathers, and molting among other topics. Very detailed materials that help the reader understand how to see the parts of the bird beyond quick impressions in order to make identifications. But I also gained a new insight into an animal that I took for granted just seeing every day. Sibley is an incredible artist and liberally demonstrates his concepts with sketches and drawings of a wide variety of birds. The combination of beautiful art, and clear, educational writing makes one of the best introductions I've ever seen to birds, and how to know and appreciate them. Highly recommended for the casual as well as serious bird enthusiast.

5-0 out of 5 stars Veterans will love it too
Perfect for the aspiring or beginning birder, veterans will wonder how they got started without it. Sibley begins with the simplest, logical advice - equipment, where to go to find birds (did you know Central Park, NY, rates with Cape May and the Monterey Peninsula for sighting migrating birds - it's the largest patch of green for miles), keeping records and avoiding mistakes. The bulk of this slim book is devoted to identifying, from behavior and voice to body configuration, feather arrangements, color patterns, structure of tail and wings, molt and more. Clear color illustrations provide plentiful examples throughout. Sibley teaches how to see and what to look for, depending on time of year, weather and habitat, and provides lots of useful information about common and unusual birds by way of illustrative examples.

5-0 out of 5 stars The book to get before the others
I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by David Allen Sibley at the Princeton University Bookstore a couple of weeks ago. He's a shy person, but once he starts talking about his favorite subject (birds, of course), he's as talkative as the most garrulous of people. Even in person, then, his knowledge of all minutiae of the avian world is staggering. That doesn't mean he doesn't understand the common pitfalls of the struggling, novice birder who wants so much to identify that giant bird with the colors of a goldfinch or the raptor as small as a songbird. He told us a couple of amusing stories about bird misidentification, one of which involved a mistake he made years ago... which just goes to show that if Mr. Sibley can make a birding mistake, there's hope for the rest of us.

Anyway, "Sibley's Birding Basics" does, indeed, serve as the introduction to his bestselling field guide that he'd originally hoped to include in the field guide. He covers all the essential bird identification topics in a clearly, if scholarly, written manner, from the importance, structure and groupings of feathers; to the bird's outer anatomy; to birdsong; to clues to bird identification (behavior, molt patterns, feather wear-and-tear) that aren't covered at all in other field guides. And the illustrations, a talent for which Mr. Sibley is justifiably famous, are the most meticulous you'll find anywhere, whether the drawing shows a comparison between a summer tanager and a northern cardinal or simply of feather types.

Finally, "Birding Basics" includes a brief but to-the-point admonition to birders who might venture too close or too noisily to the objects of their fascination. For example, you read about the usefulness of "pishing" in other books and hear about it from other expert birders, but Mr. Sibley believes this technique is overused and has the potential to harm many birds' ability to go about their difficult daily existence.

In conclusion, run, don't walk, to the nearest computer and order this book from amazon.com!

5-0 out of 5 stars An incredible book
You know I have both of David Sibley's other books and though I enjoy them I've never quite understood why people thought they were such trememdous accomplishments. Maybe I needed to read this book first. It is such a good book. On almost every page I learn something to help me bird a little more successfully. I've particularly come to appreciate both the artistic quality of the drawings and their relevance to illustrating what's in the text.
From pointing out the dangers of wishful bird identification to the difference in the culmen of different birds as a helpful aid to identification it is just packed with simple, clear, useful information to help you be a better birder.
It's just a perfect little book that melds text and illustration in a way that seems to effortlessly expand your knowledge of bird identification. I don't think I would ever have imagined the day when my knowledge of birds would include the culmen. Feather differentiation just seemed beyond me. With this book you can't help but learn it, enjoy learning it, feel that it really will prove useful in the field and be amazed at how simple it was too learn.
I've already found that I'm able to use David Sibley's guide to bird identification much more effectively based on what I've learned in this book.
I couldn't recommend it more highly. ... Read more


20. The Sea Around Us
by Rachel L. Carson
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195069978
Catlog: Book (1991-12-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 206826
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Published in 1951, The Sea Around Us is one of the most remarkably successful books ever written about the natural world. Rachel Carson's rare ability to combine scientific insight with moving, poetic prose catapaulted her book to first place on The New York Times best-seller list, where it ruled for thirty-one consecutive weeks. It remained on the list for more than a year and a half and ultimately sold well over a million copies, has been translated into 28 languages, inspired an Academy Award-winning documentary, and won both the 1952 National Book Award and the John Burroughs Medal.

This classic work remains as fresh today as when it first appeared. Carson's writing teems with stunning, memorable images--the newly formed Earth cooling in perpetual gloom beneath an endlessly overcast sky; the centuries of nonstop rain that created the oceans; giant squids battling sperm whales hundreds of fathoms below the surface; and incredibly powerful tides moving 100 billion tons of water daily in the Bay of Fundy. Carson describes the hidden mountains and canyons of the ocean deeps and how they are now being mapped; the ceaseless power of the winds, waves, and currents; the meaning of the ocean to humanity--the heritage of the sea that we carry in our bodies--and the riches to be found in every cubic mile of seawater ($93,000,000 in gold alone). In short, she captures the mystery and allure of the ocean with a compelling blend of imagination and expertise.

This Special Edition features a brand new chapter written by Jeffrey Levinton, a leading expert in marine ecology, who brings the scientific side of The Sea Around Us completely up to date. Levinton incorporates the most recent thinking on continental drift, coral reefs, the spread of the ocean floor, the deterioration of the oceans, mass extinction of sea life, and many other topics. In addition, acclaimed nature writer Anne Zwinger has contributed a brief foreword.

Today, with the oceans endangered by medical waste and ecological disasters such as the Exxon oil spill in Alaska, this illuminating volume provides a timely reminder of both the fragility and the importance of the ocean and the life that abounds within it. Anyone who loves the sea, or who is concerned about our natural environment, will want to read this classic work. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Who Says Science & Literature Can't Co-exist Under 1 Cover?
Wow!!! It is amazing that this book is over 50 years old. As a high school student, I had to read this book for Ecology. Rachel Carson's book is an eye-opener. It was some 50 years ago. And, it still is. "The Sea Around Us" is truly a classic. Carson gives us all an insight on what would happen if we mistreat the natural environment -- especially the oceans around us. Sadly, today, some of these prophecies are becoming a reality. I agree with a fellow reviewer. This book should be mandatory reading for all students. Maybe if more people read this book, we would all respect nature just a little better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required reading for anyone who loves the beach
It is difficult to believe that this book is over 50 years old. The recommendations are still valid and elusive today. Only when the general public accepts the need to protect the environment will things change. That is why this book should be required reading for all students.

4-0 out of 5 stars still relevant after 50 years
Rachel Carson, a scientist by trade, writes beautifully about the ocean in this book; it was worthy of the National Book Award, which it won in 1951. Carson takes the time to describe generally what was known about the sea at the time of her writing, and is prophetic in her comments about human impact to the world's oceans. While providing the reader with a general scientific discussion of the sea, she also gives us some magical moments: questions about the lost continent of Atlantis, mysteries about the nature of the deepest ocean bottoms, descriptions of lumninescent creatures surfacing in the remotest areas of open ocean. This book is simultaneously great science and great literature, and is essential reading for anyone interested in marine biology or geology, even decades since its original publication. ... Read more


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